Are Baby Einstein Videos Educational?

Every parent knows about Baby Einstein videos.? The company was started in the 1990’s by Julie Clark.? They combine classical music, colors, moving images, and babies are mesmerized by them.

The videos started out very low budget.? In the early ones you can see the operators hands working the toys.? Eventually, the company was bought by Disney and the new ones have more animated characters and video effects.? There was always an underlying premise, even if it wasn’t explicitly stated, that these videos were educational, or at least, that it was better for a child than other television shows.

Well, Baby Einstein has been in the news recently and it’s been causing a bit of a stir.? And you know how much SuburbanDaddy loves a good controversy :-)

Under pressure from parent activists, Disney issued an “upgrade” policy that allows anyone who purchased Baby Einstein DVD’s between 2004 and 2009, to exchange it for a book, music CD, or $15.99.

There are so many crazy parts to this I don’t know where to begin.? First, how could anyone really believe, despite what a marketing message may suggest, that watching these videos could somehow be educational or beneficial to a child?? I mean, is anyone really surprised by Disney’s implicit admission they may have misled consumers.? What?!!? A company trying to sell its products made them sound good?

Everyone knows watching television isn’t the best use of a baby’s time.? But we still do it because, while it may not be as educational as Baby Einstein would want us to believe, it also isn’t quite as harmful as activists warn.? Plus TV is very helpful when you need a few minutes of calm.? I know many kids who watched a lot of TV (me included) that turned into perfectly well adjusted, functioning members of society.

But this is what really gets me.? The videos, at least the early ones, are nothing more than recordings of actual baby toys.? So a baby is seeing the exact same thing as if they were sitting next to the toy, except the toy is on the television instead of in person.? I don’t hear anyone calling for removal of these toys.? It’s like saying watching football is ok in person, but if you watch the exact same game on a television, somehow that becomes harmful.

Where do you stand on this important matter?

Controversy Over Kid Reciting Miracle Speech

I love a good controversy. Especially one that is so ridiculous like this one. There is a video going around on YouTube of a 4 year old kid reciting the Herb Brooks pre-game pep talk. Apparently, he watched the movie Miracle with his dad 150 times and memorized the speech.

The controversy is that a parent let his kid watch a movie 150 times, or that he’s somehow exploiting his kid by posting his video on YouTube. If that were the case, I’d be in big trouble considering how many videos I’ve posted of The Things. I like the video. Maybe the kid has a bright future as an actor.

As for watching a movie that many times, we are probably approaching 30-40 times Thing 3 has watched Toy Story 1 & 2. These days it’s the only thing that will stop his mega-tantrums. Am I giving in? Maybe. But let’s see what you do when you need to get 3 kids to school on time. It’s a small price to pay. And now, after seeing this video, I have more motivation. If we watch another hundred times, maybe I can film him reciting the lines, put it on YouTube, and start a controversy of my own.

Here’s the video so you can decide for yourself

No Shoes, No Service, No Kidding

File this under hard to believe. A manager at a Burger King in St Louis told a family they had to leave because their 6 month old wasn’t wearing shoes! The baby couldn’t walk or even crawl. To borrow from John McEnroe, you have got to be kidding me.

A possible violation of the health code? There are plenty of other possible health code violations to worry about at a fast food restaurant. For example, there is our little adventure a couple of years ago that I’m still trying to forget.

Makes Me Want To Cry

Partly because he’s at that age, and partly because it’s his temperament, Thing 3 cries a lot.?? Here’s a rundown of a typical weekday morning, as I try to get them to school and me to work.? In between all the crying he’s generally pretty happy and playful.? And the crying doesn’t last long, only until he gets what he wants or the unpleasant (to him) activity is over.

He cries when he wakes up and wants to get out of his crib.

He cries because he wants a cup of milk.

He cries because he wants me to turn on his favorite show, The Backyardigans.

I mention “time to change your diaper” and he runs and hides.? He thinks this is very funny.? I play along for a minute, then pick him up and take him to the changing table.?? Then he cries.

I let him run around in his diaper for a while, so he’ll stop crying.? He does, until it’s time to put his clothes on, and the run-hide-crying game starts again.

He cries when The Backyardigans is over, until I start a new one.

He cries when his milk cup is empty until I refill it.

He cries when I put his jacket on.

He cries when I put him in the car.? Until I turn on The Backyardigans on the DVD player.

And finally, when I drop him off at daycare, he cries when I leave the room.

Ah, weekday mornings.

Should This Be A Toy Craze?

Apparently, this is a big enough story to make the front page of the Washington Post.? Forget Tickle Me Elmo and Webkinz, the hottest toy this year is a baby doll that actually poops.? Baby Alive comes with food you feed it, and then it pretends to poop.? Just like the real thing.

I don’t know, maybe I don’t get it because I only have boys, but do people really pay $59.99 for this?? I don’t see why someone would get this for their kid.

On the other hand, maybe I could see buying it for someone else’s kid.? Kind of like the toys with 6,000 tiny little pieces we would never buy for our kids, but other parents always give us as birthday presents.

History Is Made, Again

History was made twice this week.? First, on Tuesday, Barack Obama was elected president.? Then, on Sunday, we shattered the record for sleeping in at SuburbanDaddy’s house and slept until 7:04am.? Who said lightning doesn’t strike twice?

I can’t understate how incredible this is.? All of the Things slept past 7 o’clock.? Even more important, I slept until 7am.? No exaggeration,? this was probably the first time I have slept past 7 since we brought Thing 1 home from the hospital nearly 5 years ago.

I’m normally happy if I get to sleep past 6am.? So this wasn’t just a new record, we shattered the previous record by nearly an hour.? This was like Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals.? Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak.? Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a game.

And, just like we aren’t likely to see anyone approach those milestones anytime soon, I am not likely to sleep in until 7am again for a long, long time.? Yes, I’m counting down those minutes until 5:15 tomorrow morning.? Sweet dreams.

Where Are The Dads With Minivans

I drive a Honda Odyssey minivan.? I actually like it.? Why shouldn’t I?? Because it’s not manly?? Please.? It’s not like the 4 door Civic I drove last year, before getting the minivan, was any more manly.? And I don’t care what car you’re driving, snot on your shirt and cheerios stuck to your pants are not going to be cool.

The minivan has leather interior, 5 CD changer, and doesn’t struggle when you drive up a hill with the AC on.? It’s a shiny new car.? So why is it so bad for a dad to drive one?? I don’t get it.

When I pick up the Things at preschool every day, most of the cars are minivans.? But I never, and I mean never, see dads driving them.? Except me.? Are all they all laughing behind my back?? Or maybe they’re secretly jealous.

When we got the minivan, SuburbanMommy didn’t want to drive it.? She didn’t want to be one of those moms who drive minivans.? So it became mine.? I’ll say it again – I like driving a minivan.

If you are a dad with a minivan, where are you?? Come out of the garage.? Be proud.? Drive it like a man.

Parenting Poll of the Week – Father’s Day

Dads are used to being the Rodney Dangerfield of parents. We don’t get no respect. Our culture is filled with reminders like Parenting Magazine’s tagline: “What matters to moms”.

Father’s Day provides the ultimate salt in the wound. BusinessWeek reports that in 2005, consumers spent $11 billion on Mother’s Day vs $8 billion on Father’s Day.

Take a guess when is the busiest collect call day of the year. Yup, we make dads foot the bill to talk to their kids on Father’s Day.

Personally, I don’t need or expect a big production on Father’s Day. Just let me stay in bed until 7am, eat my meals sitting down at a table, and let me watch the last hour of the U.S. Golf Open.

I suspect most of my audience will vote for “Equal” in the poll. I also expect there will be some, probably the dads, who say Mother’s Day is the bigger holiday. I doubt there will be any votes for Father’s Day as the bigger holiday.